Columbia, Mo., Sept. 21, 2012 –The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is offering mid-Missouri residents a chance to safely dispose of outdated but sensitive documents without charge at a “Shred Day” Saturday, October 20, at the Columbia, Mo., Schnucks.
Individuals can shred up to three boxes of documents from 9 a.m. to noon on the Schnucks parking lot at 1400 Forum Boulevard in Columbia. They also will receive identity theft protection packets. Shred-it, a Securit company, is donating the shredding service. To reduce waiting time, participants are encouraged to use boxes or bags that can be shredded.
“Shredding outdated documents is a great way to limit your exposure to ID theft,” said Mike Odneal, BBB Mid-Missouri Branch Manager. “Protecting yourself is a must.
The FTC estimates that nearly 8 billion consumers are victimized by scammers and identity thieves every year. Officials recommend shredding any documents that contain financial information, account numbers, PINs, birth dates, or Social Security numbers. Examples include expired ID cards, legal documents, credit card and bank statements, canceled checks and carbon copies.
In addition to shredding outdated or unneeded documents, the BBB has 10 steps you can take to protect your identity:
- Shred statements and applications you get in the mail that you don’t want to keep. These include credit card applications, insurance forms, financial statements, health forms, billing statements from utilities and phone service.
- Cut up expired credit and debit cards. Make sure you cut through the numbers.
- Protect your Social Security number, all account numbers and passwords. Don’t carry these numbers in your wallet. Give out personal identifiers only when absolutely necessary. Beware of unsolicited e-mails and phone calls if someone asks for the numbers.
- Secure personal documents at home. If you have roommates or if you employ outside help or contractors in your home, make sure personal documents are in a safe place and not lying out in plain sight.
- Minimize personal information printed on checks. You don’t need to include your Social Security number, driver’s license or phone number.
- Monitor bank and credit card transactions for unauthorized transactions. Crooks may start with small transactions to see if you notice.
- Pay attention to billing cycles. If bills don’t arrive on time, follow up with your creditors.
- Don’t create obvious passwords. Avoid using your birth date, child’s name or birth date, mother’s maiden name or the last four digits of your Social Security number.
- If you conduct business online, use your own computer. A public computer is less secure.
- Never use email to communicate sensitive personal information. Don’t respond to emails asking to verify your personal information and identifiers. Neither your bank, credit card company, online payment system nor the IRS will call or email asking you for confidential information. They already have it.
For more consumer tips or a BBB Business Review
of a business, check with the BBB at www.bbb.org
or by calling 314-645-3300. Mid-Missouri residents may call 573-886-8965.
Contacts (News Media Only): Mike Odneal, Mid-Missouri Branch Manager, 573-886-8965, email@example.com
, or Chris Thetford, Vice President-Communications, 314-584-6743 or 314-681-4719 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org